If you are in the midst of filing a personal injury claim, you are going
to begin hearing a lot of terms you might be unfamiliar with as you move
forward. While an experienced attorney will be able to explain much of
this to you as he or she helps you navigate the process, it would still
be helpful to educate yourself on some of the more common terms, so you
can easily understand everything about your case as it moves along.
Below is a list of some of the most common personal injury terms you will
Plaintiff: This term refers to the injured party who is bringing the lawsuit to court.
For example, if you slipped and fell in a grocery store, injured yourself,
and filed a lawsuit, you would be considered the plaintiff in this scenario.
Complaint: As a plaintiff, you would initiate your lawsuit by filing a complaint
with the court. In your complaint, you would be able to formally express
Defendant: Your complaint would be filed against another party whom you are claiming
is liable for your injuries. That party would be referred to as the defendant.
Answer: Defendants have a right to file a formal answer to a plaintiff’s
complaint. This answer would serve to notify the court of their position
regarding the allegations against them.
Statute of limitations: Every state has a statute of limitations that dictate how much time a
plaintiff has to file a lawsuit claiming damages. This timeframe varies
from state to state. In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years.
If you miss out on this important deadline, you will miss out on your
chance to bring your claim to court and obtain compensation for your injuries.
Negligence: This is, of course, a critical element in any personal injury case. For
a plaintiff to prove negligence, four things must be addressed. First,
it must be proven that the defendant had a duty or an obligation to the
plaintiff. Second, it must be proven that the defendant violated that
duty and, third, that this violation of duty caused harm. Lastly, the
harm that was caused must have resulted in actual damages.
Burden of proof: In a personal injury case, plaintiffs also have the obligation of proving
their allegations are true. This means you and your attorney will have
to work together to prove the defendant’s actions more than likely
caused your injuries. If you cannot prove that the defendant is more than
50% at fault for your injuries, then it is not likely you will be able
to recover damages.
Damages: Speaking of which, damages are what plaintiffs seek to recover in a personal
injury claim. In other words, damages equal to the monetary compensation
you would receive if your lawsuit is successful. Damages are made up of
two separate categories – economic and non-economic damages. While
economic damages are easily quantifiable and made up of expenses like
medical bills, wage loss, and replacement services, non-economic damages
include non-quantifiable costs like pain and suffering and humiliation.
Strict liability: This is a legal theory that imposes liability for certain acts, regardless
of fault or wrongdoing. Generally, this applies to cases that involve
defective drugs, for which manufacturers are usually held liable when
their products cause injuries. Unlike most personal injury cases, those
involving strict liability shift the burden of proof to the defendant,
requiring them to prove that they are not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Texas
If you were recently injured in an
accident that was caused by another party’s negligent or careless actions,
you need to retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure
you are able to obtain the fair and just compensation you need and deserve
during this difficult time. At the Dean Law Firm in Texas, our personal
injury attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and experience to effectively
represent you and fight on your behalf.
Get started on your
personal injury case today and
contact our team at (432) 214-8125 to request your free initial case evaluation
with one of our skilled attorneys.